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Meaningful Excerpts from “Blue Like Jazz”

April 13, 2008 Leave a comment

“The most difficult lie I have ever had to contend with is this: Life is a story about me.”

“…no drug is as powerful as the drug of self. No rut in the mind is so deep as the one that says I am the world, the world belongs to me, all people are characters in my play. There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction.”

“It comforts me to think that if we are created beings, the thing that created us would have to be greater than us, so much greater, in fact, that we would not be able to understand it.”

“When we worship God we worship a Being our life experience does not give us the tools with which to understand. If we could, God would not inspire awe.”

“I know our culture will sometimes understand a love for Jesus as weakness. There is this lie floating around that says I am supposed to be able to do life alone, without any help, without stopping to worship something bigger than myself. But I actually believe there is something bigger than me, and I need for there to be something bigger than me. I need someone to put awe inside me; I need to come second to someone who has everything figured out.”

Categories: Life, Religion Tags: , ,

The Root of All Evil

April 8, 2008 1 comment

You may read the title of this post and say, “Oh boy, this is going to be a really serious discussion on money.  I’m going to skip this post, and go back to whittling that piece of wood I found on the shore of Lake Michigan last summer into a bear holding a fish”.

If you have said this, you are wrong.  And need to find a new hobby.  I’m not talking about money, I’m talking about slow drivers.  In the last 24 hours, I have had the opportunity to learn patience and self-control while driving.  Last night, it was late, and I really wanted to get home, and I was stuck behind someone going 40 in a 55 zone.  Finally, I was to my turn, and guess what…their turn signal started blinking, slowly flashing, pointing in the direction I was going, taunting me with every blink.  I was aware that I was getting upset, so I had to calm myself down.  Today, on my way home from work, it was 40 in a 50, and the truck was about 300 years old, made of rust, and smelled like a burning oil refinery.  Same thing, I had to have self-control.  It’s funny, the more you learn about what is wrong, the more you realize how bad you actually are.  It’s not killing people, or stealing, or watching Jerry Springer, it’s the thoughts about others, the frustrations, and the little things that we do that end up being the “sins of the day”.  Life as a believer is a constant tweaking of who we are as a person, and the continuous “putting to death” of the flesh.  These slow drivers were the root of all evil to me, at those moments.  It was at the forefront of my mind.

On another note, Bryce is sitting on the floor, playing.  He’s so funny.  He’ll look at me, smile, and yell.  He’s such a cute kid.  I can’t believe in little over a week he’ll be on an operating table.  We have peace about it, but I still have a sadness that wells up when I think of my little boy having such an invasive surgery done to his body.  He has such a personality now, he’s not just a sleeping, pooping, eating baby anymore, he’s Bryce, the kid that loves to yell, enjoys his ring toys, smiles all the time, and loves rubbing his gums on his teether…  We trust God fully, and still pray for a miracle!!

Blue Like Jazz

April 6, 2008 2 comments

I’m reading a book a friend let me borrow called Blue Like Jazz (by Donald Miller).  I haven’t read a lot lately, short of the internet and the bible.  I go on reading binges now and again, mostly the latest Grisham or Crichton novel…but this is a non-fiction account of a man and his realizations about God and how he became a Christian, so it’s a welcome change of pace.  His testimony is so different than what I’ve experienced (growing up in the church and believing that God was real from a young age), that his perspectives are changing the way I think about God.  I learned about God in an institutionalized atmosphere.  Sunday school, Psalty the Singing songbook, McGee and Me, the Bible itself; you get the picture.  It wasn’t as experiential as I would have liked, but I was young.  I do remember a few times that I experienced God in a tangible way as a child, but now that I’m older, I understand the world around me better, why we need a Savior, and what selfishness and “the flesh” really is, so I am experiencing God more now than I ever have.  Especially during these trying times with life stuff happening (Bryce’s heart condition, being married with two kids, ministering in the church, realizing I’m still selfish and needing to reach out to others more, that the Cubs won’t ever win a world series in my lifetime, and that the Hokey-Pokey ISN’T what it’s all about).

What I like about Don’s account is that he didn’t approach Christianity as a get-out-of-hell-free card, like the Gospel seems to be sold so often.  He understood that there was something in him that wasn’t right.  That he was doing things that felt wrong, and he had guilt, and a nagging feeling that the problems in this world were due to people’s self-absorption.  Wars, genocide, racism: it’s all a direct result of sin and people’s selfishness.  He finally equated this selfishness with sin.  This, in turn, pointed him toward God, who forgave his sins and loved him unconditionally.  He speaks of his struggles as a Christian to accept God’s grace (always feeling, like I have at times, that he needs to be self-disciplined in his own strength to be sinless, in order to be loved by God, and if he sins, he feels bad and condemned all the time, not allowing God’s grace to set him free), and to accept God’s love so he can love others.  Sorry for the run-on sentences, it’s late, and I’m a business, not an English, major.  I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far I like it, enough that I want a copy for myself so I can write in it (I have a bid on a used copy on Ebay right now…”Shop Victoriously!”).  I hope that I can take some of the truth that he found about God and apply it to my life.  I’d like to change my thinking and understanding of God to fit the truth more closely.  I feel I have a partial truth and I know my whole life will be spent pursuing the complete truth of who God is, and what He wants for and from me.  It’s refreshing reading other accounts of how people “found” God.

There is so much he’s covered that I wish I could relate.  I want the book so I can read it again, because I have a tendency to read something, really like it and want to remember it, and then forget it soon afterward.  It’s frustrating!  Wow, long post…gotta get to bed.

What We Didn’t Know About the Birth Control Pill

April 5, 2008 5 comments

Lael and I got married while we were in college, and her doctor prescribed the birth control pill for her, since obviously, having a baby during college for two full time students would be a difficult experience, to say the least. Lael was told that the pill was hormonal and would keep her from ovulating. This is all true…mostly. Recently a family member was kind enough to respond to my post about the male birth control pill, which got me thinking, and doing a little research. During my research (thank you Google), I found NUMEROUS sites, pro-life and pro-choice, that showed that the modern birth control pill in ALL its variations is what is called an abortifacient, which means that in some cases, the body will abort a fertilized egg. How can that happen when the pill is supposed to prevent ovulation? A phenomenon called breakthrough ovulation. Sometimes an egg will get released. The older pills had more hormones, so this didn’t happen as often, but now, since the pill has less hormones to keep side effects low, breakthroughs happen more often. The stats are low, 4-10% of the cycles will end up releasing an egg, depending on what you read. So basically, that egg may get released, and then fertilized. Why won’t a woman then get pregnant?

Because another reason the pill works is because it causes the womb to be inhospitable for eggs to attach to the uterine wall. This means, obviously, that the possibly fertilized and now growing zygote (read:tiny embryo) will pass from the body and die.

This was news to us. I guess I never really thought about it, somewhere along the lines, I may have heard a rumor or something, but never took the time to read up on it, thinking “They would tell us, the church would tell us, someone would make a big deal about this!!”. But that never happened. We aren’t on the pill anymore, because we are VERY pro-life, and believe that life begins at conception, and that life is sacred. We prayed for forgiveness, and are moving on. But we wanted to let you all know what was possible. The odds are low, but we’ve been married for a long time…so there is a possibility we lost a child, and that is not a good feeling. However, we rest easy in the fact that we now know, and are doing what we believe is right. I encourage you to do some research on the pill if you are curious.

Here are some links to read if you’re interested, these may be inappropriate for children and teens due to the subject matter linked to on the sites.

Pro Life Site

Randy Alcorn (Christian Author) did a lot of research on this and has written about it. Here is a summary.

Some pro-abortion advocates believe that a woman isn’t actually pregnant until the fertilized egg attaches to the womb. Here is a pro-life response to that.

Here, the Mayo-Clinic states you can use several birth control pills at once as an emergency contraception (ie morning after pill).

This is the manufacturer’s site for one of the major pills. In the product info sheet, the three ways that the pill is said to work is inhibiting ovulation, changing cervical mucus to inhibit sperm from entering the womb, and changing the endometrium to reduce the likelihood of implantation (why prevent against implantation if it’s not possible??)

What is the meaning of life?

April 3, 2008 3 comments

I had a really good conversation with a friend of mine tonight…it got me thinking. I’ve been a Christian since I was a little kid. I remember vividly giving my life to Jesus when I was about 6 years old, listening to a radio program on a sunny day in our newish house. Since then, I have rededicated by life a few times in my pre-teen and teen years. I grew up in a Godly home, not that it was always easy, but in general, I have had a great life. I’ve attended good churches; very large ones, and very small ones. Both good and bad. I’ve read a lot, been taught a lot, and even went to a private, Christian college. Even with all of this, I’ve been lacking a big part of the true Christian life…

We were talking tonight about the whole prosperity message that’s being taught constantly on TV and in big mega-churches. The idea that God is going to bless you, especially if you “sow the seed”, etc. That a good Christian doesn’t suffer, and if you are, it’s due to sin, or not enough faith This has always got my blood boiling. I don’t agree with it, and I think it’s detrimental and destructive to the faith. Life as a Christian isn’t all roses and money and good times. It can be, and is, great. However, we will suffer in our lives, and that’s Biblical. We will suffer for our faith! We should rejoice in our persecution. We won’t be automatically rich because we give our lives to God. We won’t be driving Mercedes and wearing Rolex watches like the guys on TV. We shouldn’t strive for those things. I digress, and I apologize for the stream of consciousness post. It’s late, and I wanted to get this down. Anyway, this blessing message has also lulled people into a false sense of what it means to be a Christian. We seem to be so caught up in playing church, that we never leave their walls.

What do I think I’m lacking? Well, I fell into the trap of modern Christianity, which seems to be very self-absorbed. We minister in the church, and to our families. We expect to be blessed. We listen to the music, we read the books, we do a lot of good things! But, and this is where I’ve failed, we neglect to really reach out to others. To the people that need Jesus. Why is this? Fear of rejection maybe, apathy, our comfortable life, maybe just the fact that we haven’t really thought about it. What am I talking about? Reaching out to the people that Jesus would reach out to if He lived today. My coworkers, people that are hurting, our neighbors, abused children, you name them. Just showing them love, and that I care, and acting different, opening the door to being able to share what God has done in my life, and what He can do in theirs. Not standing on a soapbox and shoving the Bible down their throats, condemning and judging them for their sin, but being strategic and looking for opportunities to minister practically to the lost.

I can picture Jesus working as a carpenter, and doing the best work He could, and treating customers with integrity and respect. I can picture Him talking to his friends about their struggles. I can picture Him doing things with people that I may feel uncomfortable around, in places where I may feel uncomfortable, or even places where I think I’d be judged by friends or Christians for even being there. Homosexuals, drug addicts, people that I don’t relate to. These are the people that really need God, and the transformational power that He brings. It’s something I haven’t done well. Sure, I’ve gone on the missions trips, I’ve Marched for Jesus…but I’m talking about a daily walk, exuding love, looking for opportunities to help others. I have been too selfish, too comfortable behind church and home walls. It’s going to definitely be a work in progress, and difficult at first, and I know I won’t change overnight, but I want to be more Christ-like, and I think I’ve allowed myself to believe too much in the Hollywood version of Jesus, rather than the Biblical one. Of a man who was rejected, but continued to minister. A man of lowly means, not great looking, a laborer; but what He accomplished was incredible. We have the power of God too, and the ability to change lives. My prayer is that I can get to know Him better, so that I would be more like Him, and in the process, reach others. I also need to start now, so that my kids can grow up with this being integrated into their being, so they know that it’s a standard part of being a true Christian. In hindsight, I see that my parents did this in practical ways (foster parenting, for example), but I didn’t, for whatever reason, make it a part of who I am. I need God for that! I need to break down the barriers. We need to set goals as a family. It’s all worth it in the end. I don’t want to die leading only one or two people to Christ. Not for selfish reasons, but because of my love for God and others. Hope this all makes some sense.

Attention Bethel Alumni!

March 27, 2008 Leave a comment

Bethel hosts an archive of their Chapel services. Lael watched a few today and really likes them. They have audio and video feeds. Perfect for all you Bedside Baptists.

http://www.bethelcollege.edu/studentlife/chapel/archive/?page=prev_current_list

Categories: Religion Tags: ,